Govt. urged to introduce stamp duty tax break for downsizing

The Government is facing calls to announce a stamp duty holiday for homeowners who seek to downsize.

Saga polled 2,000 people over the age of 50 and found that 73% would support a tax break to help them move into a smaller property.

Almost three-quarters (70%) said their motivation for downsizing was because their current home was too big, while 25% want to downsize to reduce the costs of running a home.

A quarter said the current stamp duty land tax rates that apply to all homeowners in England and Northern Ireland, apart from first-time buyers, are preventing over-50s from selling up.

First-time buyers in England and Northern Ireland pay no stamp duty on house purchases of up to £300,000, while those paying between £300,000 and £500,000 pay 5% tax.

All other homeowners in England and Northern Ireland pay stamp duty ranging from 2% to 12% on various portions of residential sales worth more than £125,000.

Stamp duty rates in England & Northern Ireland*

Residential property price Rate
Up to £125,000 Nil
Above £125,000 to £250,000 2%
Above £250,000 to £925,000 5%
Above £925,000 to £1.5 million 10%
Above £1.5m 12%
Source: GOV.UK

* Different property tax portions and rates apply in Scotland and Wales.

As a result, Saga has called on the Government to go beyond this measure with a similar tax break for downsizing.

It said with the current shortage of housing in the UK, downsizing could help to free up larger homes for families or those looking to move up the property ladder.

Jeff Bromage, managing director at Saga Money, said:

“A large proportion [of over-50s] would like to move to a smaller home so they can release money from their homes – either for themselves or to give to their families – but the costs associated with doing so are preventing them.

“We are urging the Government to reconsider this exemption – to support potential downsizers, their families and the wider housing market.”

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